Keeping Your Home – When You’d Rather Have a Different One

By Natalie, Contributing Writer

I Dreamed a Dream

I’ve always dreamed of living in the country.  Always.  I loved visiting my grandpa’s big farm every summer and building make-believe homes out of old wheels and pots and other rubbish lying around in his barn.  I loved visiting my great-grandma’s farm and smelling the slightly-sour scent of warm milk and dung all mixed up in her barn after the cows had been milked.

I loved going to camp and hiking through the woods, reading my Bible on an old log, hearing the birds and squirrels, feeling the breeze on my face and smelling the mosquito repellent on my arm.  I loved rounding up the horses early in the morning while everyone else slept and the dew sparkled on the tall grasses when the sun grew brighter and warmer.

We’ve looked at homes out in the country for almost five years now.  I have to catch my breath when I go up into a bedroom and look out the window where all I can see for miles are rolling hills, trees, farm fields, and ponds.  My heart literally aches with longing.

Reality

But we always come home to our house in a typical American suburb.  A plain, brown two-story, situated on the corner of a street and a culdesac.  I can see 11 homes from all sides of my house.  Our nine kids share one sink, one toilet, and one shower.  Because we don’t all fit in our eat-in kitchen, we split up to eat.  We have no entry way, so we crowd into our eat-in kitchen when coming home and pile 22 shoes in a corner.

Instead of chickens and eggs we have two obnoxious cockatiels who provide us with nothing but noise.  Instead of cows, we have hamsters.  (Their poop IS a lot smaller, which is a real plus in my book.)  Instead of the peaceful sounds of crickets and tree frogs at night, we hear the buzz of traffic from the nearby freeway.

I don’t know if we will ever get to move.  As time goes by, it appears more and more that we will stay put.  I’m pondering my attitude as I contemplate this reality.

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Discontentment is a SIN?

Discontentment is basically saying, “I don’t like what You’ve provided, God.  I deserve better.”  Discontentment is rooted in ungratefulness.  Think of how you feel when you provide good things for your children, and all they do is complain.  It’s ugly, right?

It’s a victim mentality.  I believe God wants us to come at this from a position of power and self-control.

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of one or the other about with us in our minds, wherever we go.”  (Martha Washington in a letter to her friend, Mercy Warren)

The loveliness of our home is not dependent on how big it is, what kind of furniture it holds, or the art on the walls.  We have a beautiful, meaningful home – or not -  based on our disposition.  We either foster a sweet, grateful, pleasant atmosphere, or we contribute to a petulant, whiny, self-centered atmosphere.

“Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal at every condition.”  Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Practical Ways to Practice Contentment in the Home God Gave You

  • Think from an eternal perspective.  Life is short.  Eternity is long.  God is writing an epic story, and you get to play a small role.  Play it well, remembering that when your part is over, there will be a party in the Green Room.
  • Keep a running list of God’s gifts and graces in your life.  I can either dwell on how irritating it is to trip over each other at mealtime, or I can look at my sun room and revel in its…sunniness.  There are a million wonderful things about the home we live in.  And I’m going to lose sleep over the things that are a pain in the butt?  The fact that I have a home is an undeserved grace of God. 
  • Remember that your living space is just empty space without love.  With love, any little corner of the world becomes a place pregnant with miracle and wonder.
  • Pray and look for little ways to bring beauty to your domain.  Even an arrangement of leaves and rocks in the center of a table can bring life and sweetness.  God’s gifts are all around you for the taking.  Open your spiritual eyes and receive them with humble gratitude.

What do you love about keeping the home God gave you?

 

About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth W. says:

    I will join in the chorus of “I really needed this!” My husband went back to school in February and had to take a HUGE pay cut to find a job that would give him the hours needed to get to school one night a week. We moved in with my dad and autistic adult brother and sister in their 1400 sq ft 4 bedroom house. We have two kids under two. We are all crammed into the master bedroom and I am three months pregnant with baby number three! This living situation was supposed to be temporary but its becoming more and more long term right now. I’ve been SOOOOO discontent without a home at all to take care of! I miss the 1000sq ft 2 bedroom apartment I gave birth to our second in. I’m struggling so much with what my role looks like now with nothing more than 300 sq ft to “make”. My frustration leads me to not even take care of what small space I do have.

    I love that we are pregnant with our third and about to celebrate 5 years of marriage, but I expected to at least have our own space with a growing number of children. When I read all the wonderful posts about keeping a home, somehow all I can focus on is all the things we don’t have and aren’t doing the way we want to. My dad leaves the TV on ALL day, there’s no kitchen table to have a family dinner around anymore, my dad is a Jehovah’s witness and doesn’t appreciate my worship music that gets me going in the morning. Its just a mess!

    So, I’ve really needed a “kick in the pants” to get off my pity party and go back to being a cheery wife instead of a discontent one. If nothing else, my husband will finish his degree in 2 years and we’ll have our own space again. Thank you so much for the encouragement :)

  2. I love this, Natalie. I will never say “I hate this kitchen” again. If I can help it. :-)

  3. Thank you for this! I needed to hear this. I’ve been contemplating similar things in my life right now. http://www.living2lose.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-apartment-is-my-home-part-2.html
    This is encouraging and a great reminder that I foresee myself coming back to a lot in the next few years.

  4. Wow, Natalie! You hit my issue on the head with this one! Thanks so much for sharing this; I especially appreciate the quotes and verse. I have spent my life searching for contentment in where we live, but God is revealing that it is only in Him that I will find it! I just started a blog post on Phillipians 4 and the Truth behind it. Ah, contentment….only in Christ! Blessings, Terry

  5. Thank you so much for writing this. At this time our family of seven is living in family housing on a college campus. My husband is getting close to finishing with his degree, but boy am I ever longing for SPACE out in the country! Economically, I know in my heart that it is highly unlikely that we will ever be able to purchase a home of our own. Praying for contentment and being thankful for a solid roof over my head is a continual goal of mine. Thank you for your encouragement, especially after watching HGTV a little too much!

  6. Thank you for this post! Very encouraging! I am too learning to be contend in NOT having a home at all. We do rent a nice house though, so I am (learning to be) thankful.

  7. I’ve been where you are right a long time ago, but God finally gave me peace! Now, as I get older and more closer to retirment, I see the tables have turned and now feel the need to purge so we can move out! So, God will help me again as it overwhelms me in this cleaning, puging feeling that almost is too much for me, as there is so much! We don’t need all this afterall I’m not taking it with me to eternity! My parting words are enjoy the moment, it only comes one at a time!! Breath and rely on the Word for help!

  8. Anonoymous says:

    Thank you. This is wonderful.

  9. Thank you, I can relate to this post. I don’t live in a small house, but I long to be in the country and live a simple peaceful life. (Unlike the rest of my family who is SO into modern and technology)

  10. Thank you! I needed this. We’re in a tiny little house that is just too small for us and we’re working on buying a new home since we are moving to another part of the state for my husband’s job, but house buying is proving much more difficult than expected. I am stressed and discouraged. I needed the reminder of what discontentment says to God and that I need a change in attitude.

  11. Brandi Woody says:

    Awesome post! Thank you for speaking the truth in love and being so transparent about your own life. God wants your family’s witness in the city. He wants mine in the military community. Being thankful in all things takes a lifetime of spiritual lessons. Thank you again! My spirit so resonated with this.

  12. Your article brought me up short, pointing out how our discontentment is like telling God the blessings He’s given us are not good enough! And this covers way more than only our home! For you, you have 9 children and a home in the city. For me, we live in the country but have only 2 children. We all dearly love country life, but our two wwonderful daughters and I greatly desire a house full of children–a dream of mine since childhood. It is so easy to focus on all the children God hasn’t blessed us with, but that is discontent! So we all have things in our life that we can throw back to God and “want more.” So resting in Him and the beautiful blessings He has given is where I need to focus…back to that “attitude of gratitude!” :) So thank you for a wonderful article! :) Blessings (as we all count ours :)

  13. The Lord led me to read this. I too grew up in the country and always dreamed I woukd raise my girls there. At the time we purchased our home…we were not able to purchase our dream home, but a home we could afford with warranties and move in ready. I’ve since learned I can live like I’m in the country, but city setting. We have berry patches, fruit trees, a garden every year, etc. That you for your encouraging article!

  14. Great post!

  15. Similar situation, except in an apartment and not as many kids. I grew up on a farm on the side of a mountain and it’s a long way from here. There is a fine balance in being content and grateful for our blessings but yet hoping for more, because I believe God can have more in store for us but sometimes we have to dig it out. At least I hope there is a yard in my kids’ future!

  16. Catherine B says:

    I really appreciated this post. My family is actually in the process of selling/moving/upgrading but I still find it a challenge to be content with God’s timing and arrangement of circumstances on a daily basis. When I think about our situation with a “30000 foot perspective” I wonder how I could ever doubt God’s excellent and gracious provision, and yet it’s still a struggle sometimes. I’m grateful for sisters-in-Christ who encourage me in times like these with their own faithful testimony of his goodness.

  17. I think this was written for me. We have been living with my in-laws for almost 10 months while we looked for a home and are now renovating it. We never planned on being here for more than a few weeks. I’ve been very irritable lately. Not wanting to even cook anymore because I hate the kitchen here. Your post said some things that made me say ouch, but I needed to hear them.

  18. Thank you thank you for this posting. This is another one of the ways that God is correcting me for my spirit of unthankfulness and discontentment along with an expectation of “entitlement” from God. God is so very gracious to us and it’s so easy to forget that. The verse Mathew 6:33 comes to mind “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.”. Thank you so much for your practical suggestions for noticing God all around us and learning to be content with the simples things in life.

  19. I’ve been gone all day, but just now have had a chance to read all your encouraging comments. Thank you for sharing little peeks into your own hearts. I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and since that time I’ve grown more ashamed of myself for not being grateful for what I have. It is so much more than I ever dreamed of having. I know it’s all relative. The Bible says that Jesus “knew what was in man.” And yet He loves us and has such patience for us. I purposed, after writing this post, to focus on all that God has given me, and I can honestly say that the strong desire to move has waned by about 75%. Just today, something came up that reminded me of moving – and the thought crossed my mind, “But why? I have everything I need here. Moving would be a serious pain in the rumpusdiddlyumpus!” And it would. : ) Anyway, I wanted to “check in” and thank you for your comments. I wish I had time to respond to each one of you. Many of you tugged at my heartstrings. I am praying that we will all experience the peace and joy of contentment – wherever God has placed us on this little earth.

  20. Kristen Hays says:

    This seriously spoke to me. It’s exactly where I’m at. I really need to refocus and put my eyes on what God sees as important.

  21. I was right there learning this lesson a few years ago, too. Since, the Lord did allow us to move into a larger house and one that we are so thankful for. When our teeny two bedroom house couldn’t sell the first time we tried, I was so upset, and found myself thinking that the Lord owed us a larger home because of our service to Him. I cringe typing that out! God actually changed my thinking through reading the Little House series out loud to my children. I read about how hard pioneer life was, and I became thankful for all of the modern conveniences I had in my home instead of being upset about the inconveniences. It was a trial feeling trapped in such a tiny house with a growing family, but I am so thankful that God brought me through it! Contentment is such a valuable lesson. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

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